Lacson: Measles vaccination: A parent's responsibility

WITH the ongoing problem on the increasing deaths and occurrences of measles in the country, the Department of Health is now faced with the responsibility to implement counter and preventive measures against the measles outbreak. On top of these measures is the massive vaccination campaign being advocated and carried out by DOH.

However, in a statement, the DOH stated that “vaccine hesitancy as one of the reasons for the recent measles outbreak in some regions of the country. Vaccine hesitancy refers to delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability of vaccination services.”

According to DOH, the loss of public confidence and trust in vaccines in the immunization program is brought about by the Dengvaxia controversy which has been documented as one of many factors that contributed to vaccine hesitancy in the country. Furthermore, a World Health Organization study conducted in October 2018 showed that the top reasons for parents in selected areas in Metro Manila for not bringing their children for immunization include “fear due to Dengvaxia, and the lack of time among households.”

Moreover, results of the vaccine confidence project in 2015 against 2018 by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on the respondents’ views show that vaccines are important decreased from 93 percent to 32 percent; safe and effective from 82 percent down to 21 percent and vaccine confidence dropped from 93 percent to 32 percent, respectively.

Based on the DOH report from 1 January to 9 February this year, a total of 4,302 measles cases have been reported, with 70 deaths. Ages of cases ranged from 1 month up to 75 years old with 1 to 4 years old (34 percent) followed by less than 9 months old (27 percent) as the most affected age-groups. Sixty-six percent of them had no history of vaccination against measles. Of the total deaths, ages ranged from one month to 31 years old. Notably, 79 percent of those who died had no history of vaccination.

Regions with high reported cases are NCR (1,296 cases and 18 deaths), Calabarzon (1,086 cases and 25 deaths), Central Luzon (481 cases with 3 deaths), Western Visayas (212 cases and 4 deaths), and Northern Mindanao (189 cases and 2 deaths).

Parents must take full responsibility for providing their children with the necessary protection and care against illnesses and harmful conditions. The measles vaccine, which is scheduled to be administered when an infant turns nine months old, remains to be part of the standard routine immunization schedule for infants in the Philippines. In fact, the vaccines covered in this program can be availed free in all barangay health stations.

For other parents who are also diligent in bringing their babies to their monthly pediatrician check-up will be advised by their doctors to avail the needed vaccines for their children. Therefore, it is the duty or responsibility of the parents to decide if their baby will be subjected to these routine check-ups and vaccinations.

As a parent myself, I appeal to all the other parents who are wary of having their babies and children vaccinated. If you love your kids and want to give the best for them, then at least have them vaccinated against measles while the outbreak is now ongoing.


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